Health Screening For Children

Last Editorial Review: 10/3/2005
Health screening benefits the overall health of the child. It is through checkups and tests that physicians can identify potential health problems. Many childhood health problems can be corrected before they become a health problem that the child carries into adulthood. Through health screening, healthy eating and regular physical activity you can help your child learn healthy living habits which can last a lifetime.

Blood Pressure

Your child should have blood pressure measurements regularly, starting at around 3 years of age. High blood pressure in children needs medical attention. It may be a sign of underlying disease. If not treated it may lead to serious illness. Check with your child's physician care about blood pressure measurements.


Lead can harm your child, slowing physical and mental growth and damaging many parts of the body. The most common way children get lead poisoning is by being around old house paint that is chipping or peeling. Some authorities recommend lead tests at 1 and 2 years of age. If you can answer "yes" to any of the questions below, your child may need lead tests earlier and more often than other children. Has your child:

  • Lived in or regularly visited a house built before 1950? (This could include a day care center, preschool, the home of a babysitter or relative, etc.)
  • Lived in or regularly visited a house built before 1978 (the year lead-based paint was banned for residential use) with recent, ongoing, or planned renovation or remodeling?
  • Had a brother or sister, housemate, or playmate followed or treated for lead poisoning?

Vision and Hearing

Your child's vision should be tested before starting school, at about 3 or 4 years of age. Your child may need vision tests as he or she grows. Some authorities recommend hearing testing beginning at 3 to 4 years of age. If at any age your child has any of the vision or hearing warning signs listed below, be sure to talk with your health care provider.

    Vision Warning Signs

  • Eyes turning inward (crossing) or outward
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Not doing as well in school work as before
  • Blurred or double vision

    Hearing Warning Signs

  • Poor response to noise or voice
  • Slow language and speech development
  • Abnormal sounding speech
  • Special Warning: Listening to very loud music, especially with earphones, can permanently damage your child's hearing.

Additional Tests

Your child may need other tests to prevent health problems. Some common tests are:

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